An interview with Shaun Ryder

Lead singer and songwriter of the Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder has had a career spanning several decades, genres and fields of entertainment. Known for his honest, forthright views, he is happy to talk about any aspect of his career and his tales of the hedonistic early days of the Happy Mondays made his autobiography “Twisting my melon” an interesting and enjoyable read.

He comes to St Paul’s Worthing for an evening of conversation and questions on October the 18th.

 It was announced in late September this year that the book is to form the basis of a movie of, Shaun’s life directed and written by the wonderful Matt Greenhalgh whose screenwriting credits include Control and Nowhere boy.

As well know for his off-stage exploits as for his music, Shaun has been blamed for being the man who killed Factory records, become a star of reality shows like “I’m a celebrity”, is an UFO expert, author and been a pivotal member of genre hopping bands such as The Happy Mondays, Black Grape and collaborations with The Gorillaz, Intastella and Jerry Harrison and Tina Weymouth.

Open about his ADD and Dyslexia, Shaun’s poetic use of language, has been a feature of the music scene since debut album Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) 

On October the 18th Shaun comes to St Pauls Worthing for an evening of conversation and as he explains in my interview, there are no subjects that are off topic, now is the chance to get to the bottom of all those stories and myths about the hedonistic storm that The Mondays created.

I spoke with Shaun just after it was announced that a film of his life was going into production.

Hi Shaun how you doing

All right Pal

It’s a really busy time for you at the moment I am seeing your face more than Boris Johnson these days

(Laughs) yeah well you gotta keep yourself busy

I love the story this week in the papers, the postman bites dog one

Oh god yeah, yeah, it’s funny when they get hold of old stories

So has that come out on the back of announcing the new film?

Yeah, well one of the lads I did the interview with is Nigel Pivaro who used be in Coronation Street, remember Terry Duckworth, I went to school with Nige, so when there was rumours about the film, he came round to my house to do an article for the Daily Mirror, and I said look hold back on this until they announce the film, so he did and when it got announced we just started talking about old times and that came up about the old dog biting thing.

So, it’s like an old school yard tale, did you really do it?

Oh yeah and the only reason I got caught, was one of the drivers saw me do it and by the time I got back it was all over the office, and I was called into the bosses office and got suspended.

What’s the format for the night at St Pauls? Do you have a plan?

No, not really, I just say to who ever is interviewing me, go where you want, knock yourself out, think out of the box, its up to them and if I get a different guy every night, which is brilliant for me, they’ll come at different sides and keeps you on your toes, and it doesn’t get boring for me or the audience.

When I first started doing these I would turn up and they would say to me, have you got your list of questions and I would say, your having a laugh, no I don’t, coz apparently some people who are actors or musicians who do these things have questions all set, but with me, its go where ever you want mate, no problem.

Have you been thrown a curve ball yet?

No, but( laughs), I tell you what, we was in Edinburgh one night, and thankfully  it wasn’t Glasgow, so I said to the fella asking the questions, go anywhere and his first two questions he bangs out, the first was religion and the second was f’n politics, and straight away we are into trouble areas, I answered the two questions and it kicked off, one side of the room was arguing with the other and somebody had to be dragged out, and I thought, you know that’s two places you do not go, religion and politics, especially in Scotland.

I don’t know if the fella who was asking the questions knew these where touchy subjects but you should have seen his face when it all kicked off.

Is there any no go areas for you

No, not so far, but what can I do? I can say there I’m not answering that question it’s as simple as that, which I haven’t come across yet.

Photo by Paul Husband

With everything else you do, all your celebrity stuff, books, films, do you still class yourself as a musician?

Yeah its what I do, I am a songwriter and I make music, the thing is now, a lot of the guys do television, like Ricky on The Voice, I mean you do the TV because it brings in other fans, other people who might not know your music, coz there’s no shows on TV now like Top of the Pops and stuff like that, yeah there’s videos on those channels, but there’s no chart shows, so by doing television you get exposure.

I mean we got so many new fans when I did the jungle and Bez did big brother, it’s like people who go on about the drugs and whatever, but a massive part of our fan base now, don’t even know that history and our fan base goes now to 9, 10 years old up to 70’s, they’ll see you on the TV and straight away on their phone and boom boom boom they are downloading your music. I am sure when Tom Jones did The Voice, big name that he is, a world wide star, the young ones had never heard of him.

If you had to give the younger you some advice, or advice to any young musician what would it be?

Well the young me wouldn’t listen for a start and nowadays when you give advice, at the end of the day they can take it or leave it but most people ignore it, you need to go through stuff and learn for yourself before you can even take some advice, with me I would say stay true to what you are doing and if your doing it just for money then f’n forget it! Just stick to your guns.

How are things going with the Alopecia?

No idea, I have had injections in my head and eyebrows to see if they can get the hair started, but it is alopecia, they don’t know how I got it, it’s like they said it’s stress, but I’m at the least stressful time in my life, if my hair was going to fall out it would have been in the 14 years I spent in receivership you know, having all your income took off you, I have no more appointments I just need to wait and see. Who knows?

And it’s not a reaction to the drugs after the hip operation?

No this was before the hip op, this actually happened in January, I did mastermind at the start of the year with the alopecia and no one said anything until it went on goggle-box, what’s up with Shaun Ryder he’s ill.

Off to Alicante soon with the Mondays to start the greatest hits tour?

Yeah tomorrow.

Well make sure you take an extra large bottle of sun cream.

Laughs.

Thanks for your time Shaun enjoy Spain

Taraa mate.

An evening with Shaun Ryder
Friday 18th October
Doors: 19:30
St. Paul’s, Worthing
£22 and £40 for VIP + Booking Fee

Read the Full Interview on my Blog Womu – a Worthing music blog, at worthingmusic.wordpress.com

Rob Kelly

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